Cooperation Chicago: Building Chicago’s Worker Cooperative Ecosystem
White paper by Illinois Worker Cooperative Alliance and The John Marshall Law School-Chicago Business Enterprise Law Clinic.
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This report examines the challenges and opportunities of worker cooperatives in the Chicagoland region. The paper discusses the need for worker cooperative development in Chicago, the current barriers cooperatives face to operating, and potential suggestions for local policy aimed at creating policies which would enable worker cooperatives to thrive. Supporting worker cooperative development could bring numerous advantages already proven in comparable cities - including growth of jobs, wages, and economic opportunity.
In surveying the needs of worker centers, worker cooperative members, technical assistance providers, policy makers, and advocates over the last year, ICWA has identified several gaps and obstacles of the worker cooperative ecosystem in the Chicagoland area.
As worker cooperatives create living-wage employment opportunities for low and moderate- income and marginalized workers, IWCA believes that fostering the growth of the worker cooperative ecosystem is the single most important thing that the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois can do to address worker exploitation and inequality, while promoting economic stability and community wealth building.